Describing today in one word is simple: madness.

Around the country brick-and-mortar retailers, online e-tailers and just about anybody that trades goods for money is having some sort of Black Friday special. Black Friday is the day that follows Thanksgiving in the USA which is celebrated annually on the last Thursday of November.

As the world gets smaller because, well, the internet, more and more countries are adopting the tradition of slashing prices on this day, with South Africa joining the ranks slowly but surely.

In the US, prices in stores are often so low that people regularly come to blows over a particular item. The question we had was whether this meant that retailers in South Africa would be slashing prices to levels so low it would be silly not to take them up on the offer, or whether we were just latching on to yet another American tradition.

That also got us thinking: can the South African price cuts even be classified as sales, and how do they compare to prices in the US?

We went shopping

Since the United States created Black Friday, we picked four items that we thought may be desirable for the  South African tech lover and gamer. These were then compared with prices currently listed by South African retailers for Black Friday. We did run into some trouble however…

Many of the items listed in the US stores are not available in South Africa be that because of the product not coming to South Africa at all or the price not being suited to the South African market. That said we have compared a Samsung 55inch TV with a Samsung 55inch TV so that the item is as similar as possible.

United States Black Friday Sale

Product US Original Price Original Price Conversion Black Friday Price Black Friday Price Conversion Saving Saving in Rands
Samsung 55inch 4K TV $1,199.99 R17,250.33 $799.99 R11,500.17 $400 R 5,750.16
Apple Macbook Pro 13.3inch $1,099.99 R15,775.84 $899.99 R12,907.48 $200 R 2,868.36
Xbox One 1TB FIFA16 Bundle $399.99 R5,736.58 $349.99 R5,019.49 $50 R 717.09
GTA V Xbox One $59.99 R860.36 $34.99 R501.82 $25 R 358.54

South Africa Black Friday Sales

Product Original Price Black Friday Price Saving
Samsung 55inch 4K TV R20,000.00 R14,999.00 R 5,001.00
Apple Macbook Pro 13.3inch R15,999.00 R12,999.00 R 3,000.00
Xbox One TB plus 3 Games R7,299.00 R6,799.00 R 500.00
GTA V Xbox One R899.00 R599.00 R 300.00

What we’re looking for in the two tables is the saving that you can expect from the items and we were left scratching our heads in confusion.

Where are the savings so extreme they bring websites down?

We aren’t discounting the fact that a MacBook Pro is R2800 off by any stretch of the imagination but the fact that our savings are so close to the US savings is nothing to scoff at.

Looking closer South Africans actually score when buying a MacBook Pro and get two extra games when buying an Xbox One 1TB bundle.

Perhaps then South African shoppers need to practice a bit more appreciation that we get sales like this at all. While deals do pop around the festive season we doubt very much that we would see sales of this caliber if it were any other Friday.

To sum up, if you love being able to afford the things you want even though the rand is currently trading at R14.35 to the dollar and  R21.59 to the pound, maybe we should all learn to not look a gift horse in the mouth.

[Image CC by 2.0 – Maury McCown]